Underground Economies

On a recent trip to visit our son in the Army stationed in Italy, I started to think about the "underground economy," Greece and their debt problems, and taxes. As we were purchasing items, most if not all places prefers cash (Euros) then take a credit card. Some places even charged you 10% more if you used your credit card. Now I'm sure some of this is to offset the credit card fee but I wonder how many sales do not get reported for tax purposes.

Greece is, in part, in trouble because of an underground economy that deals in cash and where income is not reported to the government. As they implement their austerity measures and cutbacks, have they increased their tax collections and increased reported income? Would they need to cut back as much if everyone, and I mean everyone, reported their income? This may be against their culture and custom, but the Greek government needs every Euro it can get to provide services and pay down its debt.

The same is true in the United States, we all need to pay our taxes so the government can pay for services we use every day. We may think that we "won" by not reporting all of our income, or by claiming more in deductions then we actually earned, but when you do that, we as a country lose. We lose support of our streets, our education system, our libraries, and our national defense.

As April 17th approaches (tax day) lets not lose as a country. Take every legal tax deduction you can, but be honest and report all of your income and don't exaggerate your deductions. It takes us all to do our fair share to keep this country great.


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